Shopping local may be trendy, and there are people weighing the pros and cons. Here is my list of the benefits of choosing local and seasonal foods-
1. It tastes better- Crops are picked at peak ripeness and have a shorter time between farm and your house. Farmers take pride in the products they are selling, fresh made cheese, yogurts and meats will be processed nearby and fresh. The quality of what goes into the products are many times superior in quality and taste. Not only will it taste better but it lose less nutrients as well.
2. Supports Local Families and small businesses- buying directly from farmers cuts out the middle man and the farmer gets all of the profits, this helps families grow their business and keep their land.
3. Builds community- Get to you know your local farmers market vendor, you can gain insight into growing seasons, agriculture and many times even get cooking tips!
4. Preserves genetic diversity- Plant varieties are often times limited in large-scale production because they are chosen for their ability to ripen, withstand packing and provide a long shelf life. Smaller farms often grown many varieties to provide a long harvest time, with heirloom varieties and an array of colors you may not find at the grocery store.
5. Investing in the future- By supporting small farms today you are helping to ensure we will have community farms in the future.
6. Helps diversify your diet-With the array of colors, variety and ever changing seasonal foods, it helps you try new foods to give you all the nutrients you need for a healthy, colorful diet!!
Now for the yummy stuff…. this is as Steph and my roommate put it– some of the best pizza ever! It has a balance of sweet and savory flavors, perfectly charred from throwing it straight on the grill. I bought whole wheat pizza dough from the grocery store and it worked just fine. I like to make my own, but it takes a while and if you don’t plan ahead on a weeknight its nearly impossible unless you decide to eat at 11pm.
1 whole wheat pizza crust
1 bunch of carrots (about 8 large)
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch of kale
2 Tbs coconut oil
1/4 cup Olive Oil (split)
1/4 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced
1/8 cup fresh parmesan
pinch of oregano, salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut carrots and zucchini lengthwise and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and place on baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes or until soft.
2. Meanwhile, roll pizza crust out on a well floured surface. Sprinkle corn flour on baking sheet or pizza stone (if you don’t have corn flour regular flour works as well). When veggies are done roasting place pizza in oven for about 10 minutes or until partly cooked.
3. Remove carrots and place in a blender with garlic cloves, puree adding olive oil as needed until smooth and a spreadable consistency.
4. Heat coconut oil and 1 Tbs. olive oil in a skillet. Add kale with garlic powder, salt and pepper. When kale is about 1/2 way wilted, add chopped pistachios to the pan. Continue to cook kale until wilted, stirring occasionally.
5. Preheat the grill. Take the crust out of the oven when partially cooked (the top center will still be doughy), brush with olive oil and oregano (I added red peppers too, for a little kick). Spread carrot “sauce” over the crust, top with kale, zucchini, tomatoes, and fresh parmesan. Place pizza directly on hot grill, close the lid and let cook until a little charred on the bottom and cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.